This incredible box sets collects 35 early Jazz albums released on the legendary French Jazz labels: Disques Vogue founded in 1947 and its subsidiary Swing, which was originally established in Paris in 1937 by Charles Delaunay and passed to Vogue in 1948. The music was recorded during the first post WWII decade (1947-1957) and features both American Jazz artists, who visited France or lived in France at the time as well as European Jazz artists. Paris was at the time the European Jazz center, which corresponded splendidly with its status as the European intellectual center, which produced dramatic and groundbreaking developments in European Philosophy, Plastic Arts, Cinema, Literature and of course music. Most of these albums were originally released on 10-inch LPs, which had a time limit under half an hour, and therefore they are arranged here to span over 20 CDs, each well over an hour long. The music was beautifully remastered and sounds remarkably fresh and vibrant.
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Epic's The Essential Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble gathers two discs' worth of the late blues guitarist's work, including many live performances and a few tracks with the Vaughan Brothers. The collection presents Vaughan's material in roughly chronological order, from the 1980 live recording "Shake for Me" to 1989's "Life by the Drop." It also touches on most of Vaughan's definitive songs and performances, including "Tightrope," "Wall of Denial," "Couldn't Stand the Weather," and "Cold Shot," and live versions of "The Sky Is Crying," "Superstition," and "Rude Mood/Hide Away." Though this album doesn't offer anything that hasn't already been released in some form or another, it does go into slightly more depth than several of the other Stevie Ray Vaughan retrospectives by presenting both his greatest studio hits and some of his best live work.
The original line on Gary Clark, Jr. was that the young Texas guitarist was supposed to be the future of the blues, having been mentored by Jimmie Vaughan and Eric Clapton, but as his star rises, Clark has made it increasingly clear that his creative ambitions run a lot deeper than being the next hotshot guitar slinger. On his major-label debut, 2012's Blak and Blu, Clark demonstrated he isn't interested in following the path of blues traditionalists, and while there's plenty of great guitar work on 2015's The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, this is by no means a conventional blues album. Rather, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim is a thoughtful and passionate amalgam of African-American music past and present, and the blues is one of many crucial ingredients in the formula along with R&B, soul, rock & roll, funk, gospel, and hip-hop (the cyclical drum and guitar patterns that dominate many tracks demonstrate in themselves that the aural dividing line between blues and hip-hop isn't as wide as some like to imagine).